Archive for the 'Rangers' Category

Top Venezuelan Prospects - American League

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Venezuela has not kept up with the Dominican Republic in the last couple years with the number of premium prospects coming out of the country. Cuba was at the point of surpassing them, but the United States placing further restrictions on travel from Cuba made it more difficult for Cuban ball players to emigrate. With the perceived dangers out of Venezuela the scouting has been reduced and teams move their Venezuelan prospects to Dominican facilities to work out.

In the American League some prospects from last year’s list have dropped. Luis Rengifo and Luis Arraez are two players who graduated to the major leagues. Rengifo, the number seven prospect last year will probably end up in a utility role while Arraez, who fell a spot behind him will have a couple years as a starter. His lack of power will require him to continue to hit for average if he hopes to keep his starting role. One player was traded to the National League.

Below are the top ten prospects out of Venezuela from the American League. No real superstars from this bunch, but some solid major league possibilities. A bucket load of shortstops on this list, many of whom will have to turn to third or second base.

1. Aaron Bracho 2B (Indians) - The Indians spent $1.5 million to sign him in 2017. Aaron does not have one outstanding tool, but also has no weak points to his game. He missed the 2018 season because of an arm injury so he didn’t even make the top ten list last year. Now he is number one in what is not an illuminating group. Last year he hit .281 with a .570 slugging percentage. His 28/29 walk to whiff ratio for a .402 OBA was impressive. The tools are there for him to be an average shortstop but the Indians had him playing second base last year to get his bat in the lineup. Currently his power is more oriented towards the gap but as he matures he should consistently hit in the double digit homerun area. If the season ever starts he could begin it in Low A, but at 19 years old he has plenty of time to develop.

2. Brayan Rocchio SS (Indians) - Another 2017 signing, but at $125,000 the Indians may have gotten a better bargain. His defensive tools for playing shortstop are better than Bracho, with the arm a little above average and his legs carrying faster speed, which results in better range. What Brayan lacks is power. Last year was his second season in short season ball after having success in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League in 2018, hitting .335 at the two levels. Last year was not as strong in the New York Penn League, with his average dropping to .250 and his slugging at .373. He is noted for his high baseball IQ which has given him the nickname professor. He is a little ahead of Bracho on the depth chart, but they should be the infield combo at Low A next year.

3. Maximo Acosta SS (Rangers) - Maximo is the third new player on this list. The Rangers signed him in 2019 for $1.65 million. He has yet to play in the minor leagues, but his tools are strong enough to carry a lot of buzz. The defensive tools, including strong arm and decent range are there for him to play shortstop. The bat is also strong and should hit for a high average and develop some easy double digit homerun power. The 2020 season will be an indication of whether all of that is true. Kevin Maitan also had all those accolades and as his tools failed to progress he dropped off the list. The 2020 season will be a critical one. He could start it in the Dominican League or stateside in the Rookie League. He will be 17 years of age, young to be playing stateside.

4. Darwinzon Hernandez LHP (Red Sox) - Back in 2013 the Red Sox signed Darwinzon for just $7,500. Six years later he made his Red Sox debut, pitching mainly in the bullpen with 28 relief appearances and one start. His fastball sits in the mid 90s and has a little more zip to it when in the bullpen. He was a starter in the minor leagues, but a lack of command and inconsistent secondary pitches make the bullpen the best fit for him. He gets a lot of whiffs, averaging 16.9 strikeouts per 9 innings in his 29 major league appearances, but he also walked 26 batters in just 30 innings. The inability to throw strikes will lead to greater pitch counts and shorter innings, so the bullpen will be best. He should start the 2020 season in the Red Sox bullpen but that will depend on his second spring whenever the baseball season starts again. Last year Darwinzon was sixth on this list. He becomes the first player from last year to make this year’s list, though the number one player Brusdar Graterol was traded to the National League.

5. Oswaldo Peraza SS (Yankees) - The fourth middle infielder to make this list and the third shorstop. Oswaldo was signed by the Yankees for $175,000 in 2016 when they were restricted to signing players for $300,000 or less. The tool set is there for him to be an above average defensive shortstop with a strong arm and good range. He makes solid contact with the bat, though his ability to hit for power is below average. Last year he hit .263 with a .340 slugging, but he did make his debut in Low A, hitting .273 with a 16/28 walk to whiff ratio. Oswaldo has the speed to steal bases, swiping 23 last year, 18 of them in Low A. He is still a teenager and won’t turn 20 until June. Expect him to have another go at Low A with an early promotion to High A if he does well.

6. Franklin Perez RHP (Tigers) - Franklin was number two on this list last year. The Astros signed him for $1 million back in 2014 and he worked his way up to being their top prospect. They traded him to Detroit as the key player in the Justin Verlander trade in 2017. Injuries have only allowed Franklin to work 27 innings in nine starts the last couple years. It may be best to see how he handles the bullpen. When healthy Franklin can get his fastball into the mid-90s, but shoulder issues have put those velocities in question. His secondary pitches also had the potential to be above average pitches, with his changeup being his top pitch. Last year he only had two starts in High A. The 2020 season will be key. At 22 years of age his prospect clock is ticking. The Tigers have to hope to get him some AA time before the season ends so he can be ready for his major league debut sometime in 2021.

7. Luisangel Acuna SS (Rangers) - Luisangel is the brother of Ronald. Those are some big shoes to fill. He would like to have bigger shoes as he stands only 5′8″ to 5′9″. His brother can tell Luisangel the story of how a team told him to go home because he was too small to play baseball. Ronald grew to a nice 6′0″. Luisangel signed for a bigger bonus that his brother, his $425,000 more than $300,000 greater than his older brother. He also plays a different position, though he has the speed and the arm to play centerfield. He lacks the power of his brother, but at 17 he could still grow. Last year in the Dominican Summer League he raked for a .342 average, stealing 17 bases and producing an impressive 34/26 walk to whiff ratio. The 2020 season should see him in the short season leagues where the pitching will be much better.

8. Gabriel Rodriguez SS (Indians) - This is the third Indian middle infielder on this list. The Indians rolled out $2.1 million for Gabriel in 2018. He made his debut last year in the Dominican Summer League and was later promoted to the Rookie League for 18 games, where he only hit .218. He doesn’t carry any one outstanding tool, but tends to be above average in all phases. At 6′2″ the power could develop as he matures. This could slow him down defensively and force a move to third. The 2020 season should see another year in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A towards the end of the year.

9. Arol Vera SS (Angels) - The seventh middle infielder among this group. A lot of unknowns about him since he signed in 2019 and didn’t play any minor league ball. Since the Angels paid $2 million to sign him the skills have got to be there. Currently he is an average runner, which could get worse as he matures, so a move to third base is probable. The power is there for him to make the move. The Angels like his intangibles. Arol could start the season in Rookie ball in 2020.

10. Everson Pereira OF (Yankees) - The tenth spot is what he occupied last year. A disappointing season (.171) and injuries (hamstring and ankle) limited him to 18 games. He was not on this list until Brusdar Graterol got traded from the American League to the National. The Yankees opened up their pocketbook to pay Everson $1.5 million in 2017. The tools are all there, with power, speed, arm and the ability to hit for average. He will still be a teenager for the entire 2020 season so another start in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A before the season ends would be good for him.

Top Ten Cuban Prospects - American League

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Cuba has not yet passed the Dominican Republic for their quality of prospects, but they are getting close to passing Venezuela if they have not done that already. The American League is the weaker conference for Cuban prospects, though if you would add WAR (Wins Above Replacement) to each of the players totals in the top ten the American League might come out on top because of their top prospect.

A couple players graduated from last year’s list. The number two prospect Yordan Alvarez made an impressive debut for the Astros, winning the American League Rookie of the Year award. His teammate, Cionel Perez did not make as impressive a debut, and will need to improve upon his showing if he wants to pitch int the Astros pen. The lefthanded pitcher allowed lefthanders to hit .300 against him, something he needs to improve on if he wants to be effective in the bullpen.

Four players dropped from the list. This leaves six new players to be added. Below are the top ten Cuban prospects from the American League.

1. Luis Robert OF (White Sox) - There is a lot of pressure on Roberts as baseball people are calling him the new Mike Trout. The White Sox have shown so much confidence in him that he is already guaranteed to make $76 million before he even makes a major league appearance. This includes a 26 million bonus when he signed with the White Sox out of Cuba in 2017. His first complete year in 2018 was not so hot when he failed to hit a homerun in close to 200 at bats. A thumb injury bothered him all that season. Last year he broke out with 32 homeruns and 36 stolen bases, becoming one of two 30-30 players in the minor leagues. He has the speed to play centerfield and steal bases, the strength to hit for power and the ability to make hard contact to hit for a high average. There is a bit too much swing and miss in his at bats but that is an issue most teams will take from their power hitters. Luis will be the starting centerfielder for the White Sox this year based on the six year $50 million contract he signed.

2. Roberto Campos OF (Tigers) - Hard to rate Roberto this high when he has yet to play in a minor league game but there is a lot of buzz about him. The Tigers shelled out $2.85 million to sign him. He allegedly left Cuba at 13 years of age and the Tigers hid him for a couple years at their minor league facilities in the Dominican Republic, before signing him. He defected with his older brother after winning the MVP award in a youth international tournament in the Dominican Republic. He lacks the speed to play center but his arm should be good enough for right. At 6′3″ he has good size to have the ability to hit for power. Since he has not really played competitive baseball in about three years it is difficult to predict how he will hit, especially when going against the tough breaking pitches. The Tigers could start him in the Dominican Summer League before promoting him to the major league club. He is still a few years away from impacting the Tigers major league roster.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF (Orioles) - The Orioles gave up Manny Machado for a trio of Dodger minor leaguers. Yusniel was the key to that group. His prospect status has taken a hit as he becomes mired in the quagmire that is AA, the 2019 season completing his third year in Bowie/Tulsa. The Dodgers paid a $15.5 million bonus to sign him back in 2015. So far he has not quite lived up to the hype. His power has remained hidden, stuck on 11 homeruns for three consecutive years with a modest .440 slugging average. Leg injuries last year limited him to just 76 games. If he had played a full season he could have been promoted to AAA. Yusniel has decent speed, but better suited for a corner, a good arm to fit in at right field and a decent hit tool that gives him a .278 minor league average. If he wants to avoid the stigma of a fourth outfielder he needs to improve his power numbers. Next year he should start the season in AAA with a possible promotion to the Orioles if a need arises or his bat shows the major league brass that he is ready.

4. Alexander Vargas SS (Yankees) - Alexander got a year under his belt after the Yankees signed him for $2.5 million in 2018. He played as a 17 year old in the Rookie level, hitting .233 at two levels, with little power (.373 slugging). Speed is his main asset at this point with 15 stolen bases in just 48 games. He showed a good ability to get on base with a 18/28 walk to whiff ratio. The Yankees appear to be very crowded at the shortstop position, but Vargas may have some of the best defensive tools among that group. If he can gain more strength to hit for power he could be an impact player. Right now he is a few years away from making a major league impact.

5. Lazaro Armenteros OF (Athletics) - When he left Cuba he touted himself as a player with multiple tools and was going to be known as Lazarito, eventually having a similar reaction to the name “Ichiro”. That has not happened yet and may never occur. Lazarito has to learn to make better contact. He reminds me a lot of Blue Jay prospect Demi Orimoloye or long ago Dodger prospect Jose Gonzalez, players who struggle to hit anything with a break. Lazarito struck out an amazing 227 times in 126 games, hitting just .222. He did show his power with 17 homeruns and his speed with 22 stolen bases. A weak arm will limit him to left field, which makes it more important that he develop his power, which might rely on increased contact. Next year he should see AA, unless the Athletics feel he would benefit from one more season in High A.

6. Orlando Martinez OF (Angels) - From Orlando down to Yolbert are new players to the top ten. Orlando was signed in 2017 for the bargain price of $250,000. At 22 he is a bit older and it didn’t help that he missed two months last year because of a broken finger. There isn’t really anything flashy about his game. He runs average so a corner outfield spot would be better for him. He did slug 12 homeruns last year but his power is suspect (.434 slugging). Defensively, the arm is above average but it is not a rocket. So his best bet will be to make it as a fourth outfielder. Next year he will play in AA where a promotion is just a hot streak away.

7. Bryan Ramos 3B (White Sox) - The Sox are doing a good job at putting together a Cuban National team for their roster. Bryan was signed for $300,000 in 2018. At 17 years of age last year was his first in the Arizona Rookie League and he did well, hitting .277 with a .415 slugging percentage. The power may not show yet in a game because pitchers are a little ahead of him, but give him more experience and the power will be seen. He plays third base now, but his position is yet defined. He runs well enough that he could move to the outfield where his arm is strong enough to play right field. He could also move to second where his power would be a bonus. At 17 he is still a long way from playing for the White Sox. Expect him to see time in extended spring training with another Rookie League assignment mid-season.

8. Yordys Valdes SS (Indians) - Yordys was a second round pick of the Indians in 2019. He was born in Cuba where his dad was a Series Nacional player, but moved to the States when he was 12. Defensively he was considered one of the best high school shortstops in the draft. Offensively, there is a lot of work to be done. In Rookie ball he hit just .179 with 53 whiffs in 43 games. While he is not a fast runner, he showed good instincts with 15 stolen bases. Imagine what that amount would be if his OBA was greater than .251. If he can find his bat he could be an exciting player, but that may take another year of Rookie ball and at least three years of minor league ball before he starts wearing an Indians uniform.

9. Yolbert Sanchez SS (White Sox) - Yolbert signed with the White Sox for $2.5 million in 2019. He played last year in the Dominican Summer League. At 23 years of age next year he should start at a full season league. Defensively he is solid with a strong arm. Like Yordys, what will break him is whether his bat is enough to start in the major leagues. He did have a nice 15/12 walk to whiff ratio in the DSL but that was against pitchers younger than him. He should have been a little more dominating than his .297 average and .441 slugging. Next year will be a critical year for him. It is important that his bat play well so he can advance quickly.

10. Julio Pablo Martinez OF (Rangers) - We had him at number 4 last year. The Rangers collected a lot of international money in an attempt to sign Shohei Ohtani. When that did not happen they used $2.8 million of that for what they hope is the next best thing. At 5′9″ Julio is not a big guy. His quick bat allows him to hit for better than average pop but whether it will be enough to be more than a fourth outfielder is open to question. The speed is there to play center so that puts some pressure off him to hit for the power of a corner. Last year at High A he struck out 144 times in just 113 games. Hitting breaking pitches has been the challenge. He did make enough progress in the second half to earn a promotion to AA. He will be 24 when the season starts so the clock is ticking. He is at that age where prospects become journeyman if they have yet to see the major leagues.

Major League Farm Rankings - 30-16

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

With the top 100 out myworld has ranked the farm teams in major league baseball. This is principally done by ranking how many top 100 players each major league team has since those players will have the greatest impact. Not the most analytic, but myworld has been doing it this way for awhile now. We’ll rank from worst to first, beginning with 30-16.

30. Milwaukee Brewers (0.04)

The barely significant prospect on the Brewers is Brice Turang, their first round pick in 2018 who plays shortstop. He also starred for the gold medal USA baseball team. The Brewers have been trading their top prospects to stay in the playoff race. The players who could make an impact next year are Tristin Lutz (outfielder), Ethan Small (LHP) and Mario Feliciano. Lutz was a first round pick in 2017, Small a first rounder in 2019 and Feliciano a second round supplemental in 2016.

29. New York Mets (4.48)

The Mets have always gone the bargain basement route when searching for primetime players and their prospects reflect that. Ronny Mauricio is their top prospect, a shortstop who may have to move to third. He signed for $2.1 million in 2017. Francisco Alvarez is a Venezuelan catcher who signed with the Mets in 2018 for $2.7 million. Brett Baty is another power bat that can play third base. He was the Mets first round pick in 2019. Andres Gimenez is a slick fielding shortstop who will probably reach the majors in a utility role who signed way back in 2015 for $1.2 million.

A couple players to watch are two 16 year olds from the Dominican Republic, Robert Dominguez, a right handed pitcher who can hit 97 and outfielder Alexander Ramirez who has the potential to be a power/speed player.

28. Texas Rangers (5.82)

Years ago they used to be the cream of the crop in the international market. Those years have passed. Their top prospect is 2019 first round pick Josh Jung, who has good hit tools. Nick Solak should make the Rangers roster in 2020 in a utility role and catcher Sam Huff is getting a lot of buzz because of his power bat. Hans Crouse is their top rated pitcher on a team looking for pitching pieces.

Luisangel Acuna is the younger brother of Ronald and he hopes to be making some noise. He signed in 2018 but does not have the same tools as his older brother. Bayron Lora was a 2019 international signing for $3.9 million. The Dominican outfielder has big time power.

27 Cincinnati Reds (7.58)

The Reds are hoping that Hunter Greene can come back from his Tommy John surgery and keep the triple digit velocity he had prior to the surgery. Nick Lodolo does not have the same heat but the 2019 first round pick can hit the mid 90s, sitting at the higher edges of the low 90s. His curve ball is his bread and butter pitch. Jonathan India like Nick Senzel is a first round pick (2018) who plays third base but may have to move because of Eugenio Suarez. Shogo Akiyama was signed out of Japan and could win the centerfield job, or roam around all three outfield spots, hitting .300 with double digit homerun power just below 20.

Rece Hinds is another third baseman who is a player to watch. He was a second round pick in the 2019 draft who participated in the high school homerun derby at Nationals park against Bobby Witt Jr and lost, but he took some balls deep.

26. Boston Red Sox (7.8)

The trade with the Dodgers of Mookie Betts got them a couple farm pieces, one of them Jeter Downs, who has already been traded twice. He could be a shortstop with 20 plus homerun pop. Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec play the infield corners and also carry some big time pop. Unfortunately for the Red Sox that position is crowded on the major league roster.

Jarren Duran was a seventh rounder in the 2018 draft but he shows excellent centerfield speed and hit .387 in a 200 at bat performance in High A. Jay Groome has only pitched 66 innings in his three years with the Red Sox because of Tommy John surgery but the 2016 first round pick has good velocity with a 6′6″ frame.

25. Houston Astros (8.68)

Losing two years of number ones because of the cheating scandal will keep them down. Also, there top prospect Forest Whitely has struggled with control, drug suspensions and injury. If he can overcome these obstacles he has the stuff to be an ace. Jose Urquidy has already made his presence known in the playoffs. He lacks the stuff of Whitely but has better command. Abraham Toro has a good hit tool but may lack the power to play third base.

Bryan Abreu could be the next rookie to make the Astros rotation. He has three plus pitches but lacks the ability to find the strike zone.

24. Colorado Rockies (8.8)

Brendan Rodgers is their big time prospect who could win the second base job in 2020. Shoulder surgery limited him to 25 major league games and it could delay his 2020 season until May. Sam Hilliard is an outfielder with power who could win the left field job in 2020, or at worst platoon with Ian Desmond, playing against righthanders. He has power that could be accentuated in Colorado. Ryan Rolison was the Rockies 2018 first round pick who relies on a sweeping hammer that can get swings and misses.

Keep an eye on newcomers Adael Amador, a Dominican shortstop who signed in 2019 for $1.5 million and Michael Toglia, a 2019 first round pick who has good power.

23. Washington Nationals (8.88)

The Nationals hope Carter Kieboom puts up decent numbers as he replaces Anthony Rendon in the lineup, either at third base or second base. He struggled in a brief trial last year. Luis Garcia has been a recent ask from a lot of teams. He plays shortstop and has been one of the younger players at each classification he plays, so his numbers have not been impressive.

Jackson Rutledge is the Nationals 2019 first round pick with a mid to high 90s fastball and an impressive 6′8″ frame. Mason Denaburg, the Nationals 2018 first round pick had a rough 2019 season in rookie ball but he has a good fastball/curve combination. Andry Lara is another pitcher, a 2019 international signing out of Venezuela who already stands 6′4″ and throws mid-90s.

22. Cleveland Indians (9.54)

Nolan Jones shows big time power at third base who was the Indians second round pick in 2016. Tyler Freeman and Brayan Rocchio are both middle infielders, Freeman a second round supplemental pick in 2017 and Rocchio a 2017 signing out of Venezuela. Freeman is the better hitter while Rocchio has the smoother glove. George Valera is a Dominican outfielder that draws comparisons to Juan Soto. Triston McKenzie was the Indians first round pick in 2015 who did not pitch last year because of back issues. Injuries have prevented him from reaching the major leagues. Aaron Bracho could be a nice utility player with hit tools. Daniel Espino was the Indians first round pick in 2019 who was born in Panama and slings his fastball in the upper 90s.

Bo Naylor was a first round pick in 2018, a catcher from Canada with a little bit of pop in his bat. He is the younger brother of Josh. Bobby Bradley is a first baseman with pop. Emmanuel Clase was acquired from the Rangers last year. He hits triple digits with his fastball and is a possible closer. Last year Will Benson hit four homeruns in a game. He is a 2016 first round pick who needs to make more contact before he plays left field for the Indians.

21. New York Yankees (9.62)

Jasson Dominguez has superstar stuff but he is only 16, The Yankees signed the outfielder for $5.1 million in 2019. The Tommy John surgery to Luis Severino may put Deivi Garcia in the rotation. He stands only 5′10″ but his fastball has some fire. Clarke Schmidt is the rare Yankee draft pick (2017 first round) that is high on the Yankee prospect list. He throws a mid-90s fastball and a plus change makes the fastball harder to read. Estevan Florial has five tools, but a rough year dropped him down many prospect rankings. All he needs is to replicate his 2017 numbers.

Everson Pereira is an outfielder to watch. He was a lessor version of Dominguez when he signed with the Yankees for $1.5 million in 2017. Luis Medina, Albert Abreu and Luis Gil are all pitchers from the Dominican ready to make an impact in the Yankees rotation in 2020.

20. Chicago Cubs (10.76)

Nico Hoerner is their 2018 first round draft pick who may have to move from shortstop to second base to make the Cubs roster. Brailyn Marquez is a lefthander out of the Dominican with heat that hits triple digits. The Cubs have been waiting for years to develop a pitcher and Marquez could be the first. Brennen Davis split his time between basketball and baseball, but now that he is focusing on baseball he could become a nice power hitting outfielder. The Cubs have Wilson Contreras, but Miguel Amaya has a good hit/glove tool that could be ready for the Cubs in 2021.

Ryan Jensen was the Cubs first round pick in 2019, a pitcher with a mid-90s fastball who needs to develop a third pitch and find the plate more to stay in the rotation, otherwise he becomes a bullpen piece.

19. Los Angeles Angels (11.96)

Jo Adell is a five tool outfielder who could be playing right field for the Angels in 2020. Brandon Marsh is another outfielder who will have to wait until 2021. Marsh has not shown a lot of power but at 6′4″ he could be a late bloomer.

Jordyn Adams is a first round pick in 2018 who has tremendous centerfield speed with a bat that can hit. His development could make the outfield crowded. Arol Vera is a 2019 signing out of Venezuela who plays shortstop but may eventually have to move to third. His bat carries some impressive pop. Jose Soriano will miss the 2020 season because of Tommy John surgery, but the Dominican had a break out year last year with a mid-90s fastball that hit triple digits.

18. Kansas City Royals (13.34)

Bobby Witt Jr was the Royals first round pick in 2019. He plays shortstop and has impressive power, winning the high school homerun derby during the All star break at Nationals park last year. His dad was a pitcher in the major leagues. Daniel Lynch, Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar could make three fifths of the Royals rotation in two years. Kowar and Singer were teammates in Florida who the Royals drafted in the first round in 2018. Lynch is a lefthander who was also drafted in the first round in 2018. Erick Pena signed an international contract in 2019 out of the Dominican Republic. At 6′3″ he has the potential for impressive power.

Khalil Lee is knocking on the centerfield door for the Royals. Kris Bubic is a lefthander who was also drafted in 2018 in the supplemental first round.

17. Philadelphia Phillies (13.36)

Alec Bohm has a power bat but his 6′5″ height may force a move from third to first. He was the Phillies 2018 first round pick. Spencer Howard throws hard, touching triple digits. The 2017 second round pick could see the Phillies rotation sometime in 2020, but missed two months last year because of shoulder issues and needs to eat innings. Bryson Stott was the Phillies first round pick in 2019 who may lack the tools to stay at short.

Adonis Medina throws hard but struggled in the second half last year.

16. Pittsburgh Pirates (13.88)

Mitch Keller has spent a lifetime in the minor leagues, drafted in the second round in 2014. He finally made his major league debut last year but got lit up. He has ace like stuff with a mid-90s fastball that rises to the high 90s. O’Neil Cruz is 6′7″ but plays shortstop with tremendous power potential. Many expect him to eventually move to the outfield. Ke’Bryan Hayes is the son of Charlie that plays excellent defense at third base but may not hit enough for a corner.

Ji-Hwan Bae had originally signed with the Braves, but had to negate the signing when they were found in violation of international signing rules. The Pirates took advantage and signed Bae, a shortstop with speed but very little power. Travis Swaggerty was a first round pick in 2018 who carries average or above average tools in all categories.

Major League Predictions - AL West

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Most of the top free agents have been signed. Some teams are still looking to upgrade while others are looking to tank. Now that spring training has started it is time to make the predictions. We start first with the AL West - the good, the bad and the ugly.

1. Oakland Athletics

Good - The rotation would look pretty solid if Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk prove they belong. Seth Manaea will have to stay healthy. He was pretty dominant in his five starts last year. They have Chris Bassitt as their ace in the hole in case one of the rookies is not ready or Seth can not get healthy. The potential is there for five above average starters. Not too many teams have corner infielders who combined for 70 plus homeruns last year and provide some help with the glove as well. It would also be nice to get Kris Davis on track with his normal 40 homerun seasons. Marcus Semien had a breakout year last year with 33 homeruns. That gives the infield 100 plus homeruns without including second base.

Bad - Second base is currently a hole but there are top prospects ready to fill it. Franklin Barreto and Jorge Mateo are former shortstops who will be competing for the position. Barreto has not had a lot of success in his three trials in the major leagues. Mateo has been in the minor leagues since 2012 with his prospect status fading each year he has failed to be called up. They lack an established closer. Liam Hendriks stitched together 25 saves last year, but in his nine year major league career he has 26 saves.

Ugly - Injuries to the starting rotation or failures of the two rookies could create some issues for the Athletics. They would have to hope the offense bludgeon teams to death with their 200 plus homerun season while they patch up the rotation.

Possible Rookies - Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk are the favorites. Both are expected to fit in the rotation. Jorge Mateo could be used in a utility role if he does not win the second base job.

Expected Finish - First in the AL West. Too much offensive talent here to go with pitching potential.

Houston Astros

Good - The Astros have two veterans in their rotation in Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke that will be ace 1 and 1a. After that are question marks. The infield is probably one of the best in baseball. Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel are two more corners who combined for 70 plus homeruns. The big question is whether Gurriel can replicate the numbers he produced last year or if he falls closer to his first year numbers. If Carlos Correa can stay healthy they will get a lot of production out of shortstop. He has had trouble showing that. Jose Altuve puts up numbers close to MVP caliber. He does not seem to be as dominant as in previous hears, but expectations can make players fall short. Altuve also needs to stay healthy, limited to a career low 124 games because of injuries last year. George Springer is another player that did not escape injury last year. He still hit a career high 39 homeruns while playing in a career low 122 games. It will be interesting to see what kind of sophomore year Yordan Alvarez will have. Last year he got a late callup, limiting him to just 87 games, but he still slugged 27 homeruns. His defense is so bad he might as well leave his glove in his locker. The DH position was made for him.

Bad - Robert Osuna was a good pick up from the Toronto Blue Jays mid-season. In his five major league seasons he has not had less than 20 saves. He comes with a little baggage after his domestic violence issues. That baggage may be hidden after the cheating scandal. The corner outfield is not filled with super stars with Josh Reddick and Mickey Brantley putting up decent numbers. Some teams would like to have their numbers put up in the bad category. If one of the two should falter Kyle Tucker waits in the wings.

Ugly - The cheating scandal will make things difficult for the Astros on the road. There also appears to be a lot of hate from major league players on opposing teams. This will put a target on the Astros back making it more difficult to pick up victories.

Possible Rookies - This is a veteran team so starting spots are slim. Jose Urquidy appears to have a mid-rotation spot sealed up based on his performance at the end of the year last year.

Expected Finish - Second place but a Wild Card spot will put them in the playoffs. There is just too much talent on this team not to win, despite the gambling issues that will follow them throughout the season.

Los Angeles Angels

Good - They may have the top two offensive players in baseball in Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout. The two of them could combine for 80 plus homeruns and MVP votes if they hang around for the playoffs. The problem with the Angels is those are their two big bats. Shohei Ohtani can provide some offense in the DH spot, but his production may be limited once he is ready to be fit in the starting rotation. Staying healthy has been as issue for Ohtani.

Bad - The starting pitching lacks an ace. They are also hoping for good years from two pitchers, Dylan Bundy and Julio Tehran whose best years are in the rear view mirror. There is not a lot of depth in the minor leagues to fill in should the starters fail or fall to injury. Albert Pujols is a below average first baseman for both his offense and defensive production. The main reason he is on the roster is because of his veteran leadership and large salary. Andrelton Simmons is a great defensive player but will not provide much offense. The corner outfields are lacking starter material with Justin Upton seeing his best years behind him. This could be an opportunity for Jo Adell, one of the top prospects in baseball, to make an impact. Behind the plate will provide below average production. Starter Jason Castro has been released by a number of clubs.

Ugly - Pitching will be the death of them. The lack of aces in the starting rotation and an uncertain bullpen will give away what Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout can produce. They also have two aging large contracts in Pujols and Upton that will be an anchor on the team. It is nice to have two superstars on the team, but the surrounding cast is not playoff caliber.

Possible Rookies - They appear to have a hole in right field. This could provide an opportunity for Jo Adell, who is considered one of the top five prospects in baseball. A good spring could win him a spot.

Expected Finish - Third place and short of the playoffs no matter what Rendon and Trout can do.

Texas Rangers

Good - The corner outfield could provide some impressive power. It would be hard to find a player with more muscle than Joey Gallo. He had trouble staying healthy last year, but his two previous seasons he hit 40 plus homeruns. Willie Calhoun could also break out for some pop. He hit 21 homeruns in just 83 games and his minor league career shows he has 40 homerun power despite his 5′8″ inch height. His defense is rather limited so he could see a lot of time in the DH slot. Can Corey Kluber return to his Cy Young years. He had five years of 200 innings or more and in four of those years he had 18 wins or more. Last year was a dud.

Bad - The rotation does not have any ace if Corey Kluber does not return to his Cy Young form. They need Mike Minor and Lance Lynn to replicate their 2019 season when history says that may be difficult. Rougned Odor has hit below .210 in two of his last three years. In both those years he did hit 30 homeruns, but the Rangers need more consistency from him. If not Nick Solak could take the job from him. Willie Calhoun would see most of his time at the DH spot if the Rangers did not also have the aging Shin-Soo Choo fill the position. Choo has put up decent offensive numbers but they fall short of what playoff teams get from their DH spot. This will hurt the defense in the outfield.

Ugly - The bullpen lacks a closer. They have a group of arms that once were closers but that was back in the day. Keeping leads in the seventh inning on will be difficult.

Possible Rookies - Nick Solak could win the second base job if Odor continues to struggle with consistency. If he fails to win the second base job he could be used in a utility role in the outfield and at third base. The Rangers could call up Leodys Taveras by mid-season to plug the hole defensively in centerfield. He is a gold glove caliber defender but his bat is lacking.

Expected Finish - Fourth place.

Seattle Mariners

Good - Mariners fans will see a lot of rookie prospects filling a number of positions. The best one may be Evan White who they signed to a six year contract. His defense is gold glove at first base but the Mariners are not sure if his bat is ready yet.

Bad - The hope is that talented rookies will fill positions adequately and not make them bad. Second base has the light hitting Dee Gordon whose stolen base production has fallen now that he has turned north of 30. The starting staff was hoped to be led by Japanese star Yusei Kikuchi, but he bombed last year in his major league debut. They hope for better in 2020. Dan Vogelbach is a big guy at 250 pounds. Last year he slugged 30 homeruns but his career major league average is .205 in 205 games. That needs to improve.

Ugly - When you have a bad team you don’t need a bullpen and the Mariners do not have one. Their closer Matt Magill has been released by a couple teams. If he fails it could be a bullpen by committee.

Possible Rookies - The Mariners lineup will be filled with rookies in this rebuilding year. Evan White may be the most talented player. He should win the first base job. Justus Sheffield is a talented pitcher who should find himself in the middle of the rotation. If his spotty control makes the starting rotation a struggle the Mariners could try him in the bullpen, perhaps as their closer. The outfield is thin which could provide an opportunity for talented Kyle Lewis. Jake Fraley is another player who could win a starting spot or a fourth outfielder position.

Expected Finish - Talented rookies will not prevent the Mariners from finishing at the bottom of the division.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

There are no Max Kepler’s on this list. Carter Kieboom has the potential to be a Kepler, but it was his dad who played in the Netherlands. Carter grew up with his brother Spencer playing baseball in the United States. There are a number of players from Curacao, which is a colony of the Netherlands. They have not been generating ballplayers as talented as Andrelton Simmons, Andruw Jones, Kenley Jansen and Jonathan Schoop. Only Carter Kieboom from the list last year made the major leagues, and he only appeared in 11 games. Not a list rich in potential major leaguers, but there is potential.

1. Carter Kieboom SS/2B (Nationals/Netherlands) - His dad played baseball in the Netherlands. Carter has played all his ball in the United States. He played so well that in 2016 the Nationals made him their first round pick. Last year he made his major league debut, playing in 11 games but only hitting .128. With Anthony Rendon departing via free agency there is an opportunity for Carter to make the roster at third base or second. His natural position is short, but Trea Turner occupies that position. Carter has some pop in his bat and has hit for a high batting average in the minors. His power will play at third, but it would be extra special at second. Expect Kieboom to contribute to the Nationals roster quite a bit in 2020.

2. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Diamondbacks/Lithuania) - His Wikipedia page says he is of Lithuanian origin so we will add him here. He was drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2017 draft. The Astros later included him in the trade to acquire Zack Greinke. At 6′0 J.B. does not have the height scouts look for in righthanded pitchers. His fastball does cross the plate in the high 90s, but it crosses straight and true with very little plane. His slider is an impressive swing and miss pitch. Last year was a struggle for J.B. in AA. His ERA was above 5.25 and he struggled with command, walking 59 batters in 93 innings. The Diamondbacks could promote him to AAA next year, or return him to AA and hope he achieves some success.

3. Dean Kremer RHP (Orioles/Israel) - Dean was part of the unimpressive haul the Orioles got for Manny Machado. He was a Dodgers 14th round pick in 2016. Dean pitched for Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier but did not pitch for Team Israel that qualified for the Olympics. Dean throws in the low 90s with a plus curveball that gives enough swings and misses to get above 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. He had four rough starts in AAA last year (8.84 ERA) where the opposition hit him at a .366 clip. He hopes to return there in 2020 and pitch well enough to make his major league debut.

4. Sherten Apostel 3B (Rangers/Curacao) - The Pirates initially signed Apostel but traded him to the Rangers in the Keone Kela deal. Last year was his first year in full season ball and he broke out with 19 homeruns. In two previous years of rookie ball he did not hit double digit homerun numbers, but he hit for enough power to slug .450 or greater. At 6′4″ his height and weight could get so bulky that it would force a move from third base to first base. Sherten is still a couple years at best away from the major leagues.

5. Shervyton Newton 2B/SS (Mets/Curacao) - The tool that stands out most for Newton is his 6′4″ height, which translates into above average power. The Mets got a bargain signing him for just $50,000 in 2015. Last year was his first year in full season ball and it will not be a season to remember. He hit only .209 with a 37/139 walk to whiff ratio. In rookie ball he showed more patience at the plate so he needs to focus on waiting for his pitches to hit. The Mets are crowded at short and defensively he may be a better fit at second. The arm is strong enough to move to third or play a corner outfield, but he lacks the speed to cover a lot of ground in center. He is still a few years away from making it on the Mets roster.

6. Hendrik Clementina C (Reds/Curacao) - Hendrik originally signed with the Dodgers for $50,000 way back in 2013. The Reds traded Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers to acquire Clementina in 2017. After four years playing in rookie ball Hendrik made his full season debut in 2018 and blossomed with 18 homeruns. Last year he played in the spacious parks of the Florida State leagues and still hit 14 homeruns. He is only 6′0″ weighing 250, which calls into question how mobile he will be behind the plate as his body ages. He does not have a strong arm and only had a 14 percent success rate in throwing out runners, so he still has some issues. The power could allow a team to carry him as a backup catcher with the new 26 man rosters. Next year he should start in AA so a callup could happen in 2020 if injuries force the Reds to dig deep for a catcher. Hendrik lacks the tools to surpass Tyler Stephenson for the number one role.

7. Donny Breek RHP (Twins/Netherlands) - The Twins signed Donny after his performance in the Under 18 World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada. While he did not make the all tournament team myworld identified him as a player to watch after his 1-1, 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings where he limited the opposition to a .151 average. He also pitched the Netherlands to the European championships in 2019 in a win over Italy. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he complements it with a decent change. Last year he was dominant in his second year of Rookie ball, finishing with a 0.74 ERA with a .165 opposition average. His command can be a little spotty, but he has yet to give up a homerun in 74 innings. Myworld believes he will win a full season role in 2020, which could begin his journey to the major leagues.

8. Sem Robberse RHP (Blue Jays/Netherlands) - The Blue Jays signed Sem for $125,000 in 2019, which is a pretty generous bonus for a European player. He rewarded them with a 2-0, 0.87 ERA in rookie ball. He only pitched 10 innings so it is a small sample size. Sem showed pretty good command, not walking a single hitter, but they did hit .275 off him. He won’t turn 19 until October. Currently his fastball sits in the high 80s/low 90s but the Blue Jays feel that as he puts on more weight the velocity will increase. The secondary pitches are still in their development phase. He will probably see one more year in rookie ball before advancing to full season ball in 2021.

9. Leonardo Seminati 1B (Reds/Italy) - Leonardo did make the All Tournament team in Thunder Bay, Canada for the 18 and under team as the first baseman. He hit .423 with two homeruns and seven RBIs. Some others who made the all tournament team are Cesar Prieto from Cuba who is a about to sign a large contract, Brice Turang and Alek Thomas. Matthew Liberatore, Triston Casas, Victor Mesa and Korean superstar Baek-Ho Kang are four players who did not make the all tournament team. Leonardo has the potential for big time power, slugging 9 homeruns in 58 games in the Rookie Pioneer League. He also shows the ability to swing and miss with 80 whiffs. He also played a little outfield and third base but may lack the speed to be a viable outfielder. If he can eliminate the lack of contact Leonardo could make an impact in the minor leagues. Next year should be his debut in full season ball.

10. Martin Cervenka C (Orioles/Czech Republic) - We have not given up on Martin despite his 27 years of age falling outside normal prospect range. He will probably never make it as a number one catcher, but with some injuries he could make it as a back up. He signed initially with the Cleveland Indians way back in 2009. Last year injuries limited him to just 58 games but he reached AAA. If he can stay healthy the Orioles catching depth is not strong. Last year when he played in AA he had a 46 percent success rate in nabbing baserunners, so the defensive tools are there. He also hit .372 in a short 12 game debut with AAA Norfolk. This is his fifth and probably last year on our top European prospect team. Way back in 2014 he made our under 21 world cup all tournament team with Taiwan superstar Po Jung Wang and Japan All Star Seiya Suzuki. All he needs is a couple months and he earns a pretty sweet major league pension.

Other true Europeans to consider who are all in the Rookie League are Niklas Rimmel RHP (Twins/Germany), who was signed the same time as Breek, Anton Kuznetsov LHP (Phillies/Russia) and Darryl Collins OF (Royals/Netherlands)

Myworld’s Top 100 - 80-71

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

No one team had more than one top prospect in this tranche. The 6′4″ outfielder seemed to dominate this group

80. Edward Cabrera RHP (Marlins) - Edward is the second of what could be an awesome pitching rotation if the arms can stay healthy. Sixto Sanchez is another pitcher that is close and Sandy Alcantara made his contributions last year. The hardest thrower in this group, Jorge Guzman did not even make the Top 100. Edward is a lean 6′4″ who can get his fastball to the plate in triple digits, but does a better job of finding the plate when it settles in the mid-90s. His secondary pitches still need more refinement, but he does not have an issue with finding the plate. The opposition hit him at a .190 clip and he struck out 116 hitters in 96.2 innings. Last year he got eight starts in AA. That is where he will begin his 2020 season and if he has success don’t be surprised to see him with the Marlins before the year is out.

79. Hunter Bishop OF (Giants) - Hunter was the Giants first round pick in 2019. With a 6′5″ frame he has that typical look of a rightfielder who can hit 30 plus homeruns. Hunter has an older brother Braden, who played for the Mariners last year. Braden was a third round pick in 2015 and at 6′1″ is not the more imposing power hitter. Hunter has athleticism that gives him the speed to play centerfield, but his arm is not a howitzer so it would only be about average if he played in right field. Last year Hunter showed a good ability to get on base in the rookie leagues walking 38 times with 39 whiffs. The Giants would probably like him to be more aggressive to curb those strikeouts, which resulted in a low .229 average. Next year he should start the season off in full season. With Heliot Ramos ahead of him, the Giants outfield could shed their weak link reputation in a couple years. As a college drafted player Hunter should rise quickly with an estimated major league time of 2022 if he continues to achieves success as he advances.

78. Daulton Varsho C (Diamondbacks) - His dad is Gary. He was given the name Daulton because of Phillies catcher Darren Daulton. It may be why Daulton chose the route of catcher for his route to the major leagues rather than outfielder. Daulton might be better suited for the outfield. He has excellent speed for a catcher, but enough speed where he can chase down balls in a corner outfield. His arm is below average for a catcher, but it could be used in left field. The bat will be what gets Daulton into the lineup. Last year the 2017 second round pick slugged a career high 18 homeruns in AA with a .301 average and a .899 OPS. That is the kind of offense the Diamondbacks would like soon in their lineup. As a catcher Daulton has a number of things to work on defensively and it may take him longer to reach the majors. If the Diamondbacks just plugged him into a corner outfield and told him to swing the bat he would arrive much quicker. As a hitter Daulton is ready for the major leagues in 2020. As a catcher he may not be ready until 2021. Not many catchers in baseball have the speed to steal 21 bases as Daulton did last year.

77. Brandon Marsh OF (Angels) - At 6′4″ the second round 2016 pick oozes the looks of a prototypical corner outfielder that can hit 30 plus homeruns. Brandon lacks loft in his swing and the balls tend to splinter the gaps rather than leap over the fences. He hit double digits in homeruns in 2018 (10), but last year hit only seven. He could also be one of these late bloomers who at some point finds the loft in his swing that triples his homerun totals. He hit .300 at AA Mobile, but only seven balls carried over the fence for a .428 slugging percentage. Defensively he has a strong arm and good speed that fits perfectly in centerfield. Most teams would like to see more pop come from their corner outfielders. With Jo Adell rated ahead of him in the outfield and Josh Upton and Mike Trout occupying the other outfield spots, it could be until 2021 before Brandon makes his major league debut. Injuries could rush that debut time to 2020.

76. Josiah Gray RHP (Dodgers) - At one point the Reds may regret their trade where they sent both Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray to the Dodgers for aging veterans Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. They also got pitchers Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer in the deal. Josiah was a supplemental second round pick of the Reds in 2018. He lacks the height you look for in a power pitcher (6′1″) and he generally sits in the low 90s with his fastball. He can amp it up to 97 with some effort. His secondary pitches are solid, with his slider ahead of his curveball at this point. Last year Josiah had success at three levels, rising all the way to AA where he limited the opposition to a .228 average. With continued success Josiah could make a contribution to the Dodgers rotation for the 2020 season. He could also be used out of the bullpen where his fastball would consistently hit the mid-90s.

75. Luis Campusano C (Padres) - Luis was the Padres second round pick in the 2017 draft. High school catchers take longer to develop and do not have the same success rate as college catchers. Luis is doing his best to temper that criticism. He had a breakout season last year with 15 homeruns and a .325 batting average. That is double the number of homeruns Luis hit in his first two seasons. The Padres catching depth is solid with defensive stalwart Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia in the major leagues. Luis has a strong arm and is one of those players who could impact the game from both sides of the plate, as a solid defensive player and as an offensive catcher who can hit 20 plus homeruns. Last year he hit his 15 homeruns in the California League, so do not expect a major league contribution until 2021.

74.Brennen Davis OF (Cubs) - The second round pick of the Cubs in 2018 also has that athletic frame at 6′4″ that has the potential to hit for power. He was a star basketball player in high school, earning defensive player of the year accolades. Like Brandon above him, Brennen has the speed to play center, but has the arm and the power to fit in right. A finger injury limited his season to 50 games last year, where he did slug 8 homeruns for a .525 slugging percentage. If his speed stays Davis has the potential to hit 30 homeruns and steal 30 bases. He could be a five tool impact player in centerfield that hits for power and vies for gold gloves in the outfield. Next season Brennen should move to High A. He is still a couple years away from the Cubs.

73. Brent Honeywell RHP (Rays) - Tommy John surgery ended his 2018 season before it could get started. While rehabbing to ready for the 2019 season Brent fractured his right elbow, wasting another season. Prior to those injuries Brent was supposed to follow Blake Snell as co-aces of the rotation. Snell has won a Cy Young while Honeywell continues his rehab. Brent had a Yu Darvish array of pitches, with an above average fastball, slider, curve, change and even a screwball that were all considered above average major league quality pitches. How those pitches can bounce back after the two injuries is open to question. Brent will spend some time in the minors in rehab. How quickly he has success will determine whether he pitches for the big club in 2020 or 2021. At 24 he is still young enough to make an impact in a major league rotation.

72. Deivi Garcia RHP (Yankees) - Not a lot of righthanded pitchers who stand less than 5′10″ become successes in major league baseball. Marcus Stroman is one who comes to mind. Deivi was signed by the Yankees back in 2015 for just $200,000. Not a lot of pitchers with that small a stature can get the ball to the plate in the mid-90s. What is even more impressive for Deivi is his high spin curveball that garners lots of swings and misses. Last year he struck out 120 hitters in just 71 innings. Hitters made better contact against him when he was promoted to AAA (.262). If Garcia fails to show the durability needed in a starter he can always work out of the pen. The Yankees used him for five games there last year in AAA. He should arrive with the Yankees earlier in the bullpen than as a starting pitcher. First find that success in the bullpen and take that confidence into the rotation when called upon. Garcia should see the Yankees in bullpen sometime in 2020.

71. Josh Jung 3B (Rangers) - Josh was the Rangers first round pick in the 2019 draft. With Adrian Beltre retired and Joey Gallo now an outfielder, the third base spot is ripe for someone to take that opening. His bat led Texas Tech to two college World Series appearances. Last year the Rangers raced Josh to Low A where he hit .287 with one homerun in 40 games. The Rangers expect to see a little more pop in his bat. He is a four tool player with a strong arm, good power and the ability to make contact for a solid average. The only tool he lacks is speed, where a move to outfield would not be in the Rangers best defensive interests. They will move him quickly in 2020, rising as high as AA. His major league debut could come sometime in 2021.

Myworld’s Top 100 90-81

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

This is a continuation of our Top 100 list, which is basically a ranking of five other top 100 prospect rankings and giving each player points based on where they were rated. The points were aggregated and then divided by five to get an average score. The Mets win this prospect ranking with two players ranked within this top ten.

90. Noelvi Marti SS (Mariners) - For a player who signed in 2018 and has seen nothing higher than the Dominican Summer League, this is an impressive ranking. In years past there would not be enough information on player’s who did not play state side, but in the age of the internet and videos passing information on skills sets it is now so much easier to evaluate players. Noelvi signed for $1.55 million. Speed could be the main part of his game but he shows some power that could make him a very intriguing player. In The DSL he hit .309, slugged 9 homeruns and stole 17 bases as a 17 year old. He has the tools to play short, but his speed would also be an asset in centerfield, so the Mariners have options. How he fills out as he matures could dictate his ultimate position. Next year he will start the season in extended spring, play in rookie ball and could get promoted to Low A before the season ends. He is at least three years away from fitting a major league uniform.

89. Francisco Alvarez C (Mets) - The Mets have not had a lot of success with young minor league catchers fulfilling their success in the major leagues. They hope this Venezuelan who signed for $2.7 million in 2018 will achieve success. Alvarez has massive hands and wide forearms built by helping his dad carry 90 pound concrete bags as a ten year old. Don’t know how those big hands will impact his catching behind the plate, but it has given him some power at the plate. Last year he played in the Rookie League and hit .312 with seven homeruns and a .916 OPS. His bat has the ability to hit for some big time raw power. The arm is strong enough behind the plate so if he can improve on the other areas of defense he should be fine. It takes catchers a little longer to develop so Francisco is still probably four years away from the Mets.

88. Shane Baz RHP (Rays) - Baz was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2017. When the Pirates had the hopes of making the playoffs they traded Baz to the Rays for Chris Archer. Now that the Pirates are rebuilding they would probably like that trade back. Baz can hit triple digits with his fastball but normally sits in the mid-90s. He has a plus slider that gets lots of swings and misses (87 whiffs in 81 innings) and a developing change that should keep him in the rotation. There is some inconsistency in finding the plate but that should improve with experience and more repetition. If he fails to harness his control there is always the option of the bullpen. Shane got 17 starts and was 19 innings short of 100. He should start the 2020 season in High A and work for a promotion to AA late in the season. This should prep him for a major league callup by 2021.

87. Simeon Woods-Richardson RHP (Blue Jays) - The Mets drafted Simeon in the second round of the 2018 draft. His fastball can carry readings in the lower etches of the high 90s and he has a big breaking curveball. Generally he will sit in the low 90s. His strikeout numbers were impressive (126/106 whiff to innings pitched) at High A and AA. In his six starts in the Florida State League he limited the opposition to a .182 batting average. With more success next year he could be pitching in AA, just a knock on the door to the major leagues. At 6′3″ he has good height to add more velocity to his fastball. One curiosity is how many letters the Mets will allow him for the back of his uniform.

86. Nick Solak OF (Rangers) - Not a typical player to be found in a Top 100 list. Nick was originally drafted by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft, traded to the Rays in a three team trade in 2018 and finally traded to the Rangers for a pitcher Peter Fairbanks, who was a 9th round pick of the Rangers in 2015. Solak got some major league opportunity last year hitting 5 homeruns and slugging .491. The Rangers used him both in the outfield and at second base. His arm is probably best suited for left field but his speed could allow him to fill in at center. Second base is his more natural position. His bat carries some pop with the Rangers motivated to promote him after he hit .347 with 10 homeruns in just 30 games after the Rangers acquired him from the Rays. He will compete for a major league utility job with the Rangers next year.

85. Jonathan India 3B (Reds) - India was a first round pick of the Reds in 2018. The last third baseman they drafted number one (Nick Senzel - 2016) they had to move to another position because of Eugenio Suarez filling the third base bag. Senzel has been injury prone the last couple years, but was considered to have better tools than India. As a college drafted player India should move quickly. Last year he blitzed through High A and AA, hitting .259 with 11 homeruns. That matches Senzel in his rise up the minor leagues, with Nick hitting more homeruns and producing better batting average numbers. India has some pop in his bat and the position versatility that he could be used as a utility player his first couple years with the Reds. Like Senzel, there is enough speed in his legs that he could get outfield time and play at shortstop. Next year he should start the season in AA but do not expect a callup until sometime in 2021.

84. Corbin Carroll OF (Diamondbacks) - The Diamondbacks have the luxury of going for it with a rich minor league system filled with tradeable prospects. The Diamondbacks used one of their many first round picks in 2019 to draft Carroll, selecting him 15th overall. Currently his hit tool exceeds his power, with his burner speed making him an ideal fit for centerfield. His power could develop more than gap power as he matures, but time will tell on that. Last year he stole 18 bases and slashed seven triples in just 42 games. Corbin drew enough base on balls to put his OBA above .400. He appears ideally suited for the lead off spot, but is not expected to see any major league time until 2023.

83. Ryan Mountcastle 1B (Orioles) - The million dollar question you have for Ryan is what glove do you give him. His arm is not adequate enough to play the left side of the infield and the outfield would be limited by his loopy throws. The Orioles like his bat where he went on to hit 25 homeruns in AAA. First base and DH are two of the crowded positions in the Orioles major league lineup so Ryan may have to continue mashing homeruns in AAA. Ryan was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2016 and at that time played shortstop. Next year he should make his debut with the Orioles.

82. Brady Singer RHP (Royals) - Brady was the top pitcher for the Florida Gators and fell to the Royals as the 18th pick in the 2018 draft when many felt he was a top five pick in the draft. The Royals chose to rest his arm and did not pitch him in 2018. This year he debuted his low 90s fastball with a devastating slide to minor league hitters. The numbers were rather pedestrian. He pitched well in High A (1.87) where he kept the ball on the ground. When promoted to AA batters hit more balls over the fence and he was rather pedestrian with his numbers (3.47 ERA). He gives up close to a hit for each inning pitched and falls below a strikeout for each inning pitched. The Royals were hoping to see more, but perhaps he will break out in his second season of minor league ball. The 6′5″ Singer is due to start the season in AA and could be ready to pitch for the Royals in 2020.

81. Ronny Mauricio SS (Mets) - Amed Rosario currently holds the shortstop job but has struggled with defense. Andres Gimenez is a defensive shortstop that lacks the bat of Rosario. And you have Mauricio, whose bat should hit for power and average, but at 6′3″ his body will out grow the position and eventually move to third. Ronny does not have good speed so even if the Mets chose to keep him at short he would be limited defensively. The Mets paid out $2.1 million to sign Mauricio in 2017. Last year he played in Low A with a 23/99 walk to whiff ratio an explanation for his .268 average. He will need to find more patience before finding major league success.

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospect List - 100 to 91

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

All prospect lists are subjective. We hate subjective assessments. They are usually incorrect as the years confirm. To make matters simpler, this isn’t really my Top 100 list. It is a combination of five top 100 lists. That way I can be more objective. MLB.com, Baseball America, CBS Sports, Rotochamp and Brickwall were the five Top 100 lists used this year. Because it takes so much time putting them together, we are breaking them down into ten prospect lists. This will be list 100-91.

100. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - Jordan was born in Canada. The Twins waited until the fifth round of the 2016 draft before acquiring him. He lingered away from any top ten prospect lists until his 6′5″ inch frame began throwing fastballs above the 95 mile per hour readings. His strikeout numbers were impressive (129 whiffs in 93 innings) and his opposition average (.193) confirmed his ability to get hitters out. Despite his height he showed good command of his pitches. Jordan has yet to pitch 100 innings in one year. A promotion to AA is expected and the Twins hope to have him hit the 100 inning mark in 2020. Don’t expect him with the Twins until 2021, unless they want to manage his innings in a bullpen role.

99. Josh Lowe OF (Rays) - Josh is the brother of Nate, who is a first baseman in the Rays organization. Josh was a first round pick out of high school in 2016 while his brother waited until the 13th round of that same draft to hear his name called. Nate was the first of the two to make the big league roster, appearing in 50 games, but Josh should make more of an impact. Josh had a break out year last year with his first double digit homerun year, blasting 18 homeruns. His whiff numbers were a tad high (132) resulting in a .252 average, which is just one below his career minor league average. The speed exists for him to play centerfield and steal bases (30). At 6′4″ the power numbers should only increase. All of his damage occurred at AA last year so Rays fans could see him in 2020 if a need arises.

98. George Valera OF (Indians) - George was born in New York but moved to the Dominican Republic as a youth. The Indians signed him for $1.3 million. If he had stayed in New York, where the baseball weather is not ideal, he would have been part of the draft last year. Not a lot of million dollar contracts given to New York high schoolers. He made his stateside debut in 2018 but an injury limited him to just six games. The 2019 season saw him play more games but not doing a lot of damage (.236). The Indians hope they have another Juan Soto, but he has to show a little more damage with the bat. The tools are all just above average so the speed is marginal enough where he could play centerfield, and the arm is strong enough to survive in right. The bat will have to play for him to earn his spot in the outfield, probably left field like Soto.

97. Tyler Freeman SS (Indians) - The Indians first round pick in the 2017 draft. In 2018 he mauled the New York Penn League for a .352 average. The 2019 season was his first in full season and the bat continued to mulch pitchers, hitting .306 between High A and Low A. Power does not appear to be in his game, with just 7 homeruns in his first three years in the minors. He sprays the gaps, with 32 doubles and makes contact, rarely striking out. The tools are there for him to play short, but not at the Francisco Lindor capacity. Defensively, his best fit may be second base, but with the willingness of the Indians to trade Lindor he may be called on earlier than expected. At best he will see a half season in AA and be ready for the major leagues in 2021.

96. Clark Schmidt RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees selected Clark in the first round of the 2017 draft, despite having Tommy John surgery that made him unable for him to pitch that year. The 2018 season was a rehab year where he only threw 23 innings. Last year the Yankees let him throw just over 90 innings and he showed a low to mid 90s fastball with good command and lots of swings and misses (102 whiffs in 90.2 innings). A smaller frame (6′1″) is cause for some durability concerns, despite being two inches taller than the Yankees top pitching prospect of the moment (Deivi Garcia). He did start three games in AA last year and drafted out of college if the Yankees feel his arm is ready they could give him a call next year, more likely out of the bullpen.

95.Bobby Dalbec 3B (Red Sox) - Bobby is one of the reasons there is a lot of downtime in baseball. He draws a lot of walks and has his share of strikeouts. This year the strikeout numbers dropped significantly but that failed to result in a higher average (.239) or power production (.460). His power numbers actually dropped from the previous season. At 6′4″ Dalbec is a little stiff for third base, but the Red Sox have too many players whose best position is first base. His lack of speed makes it not an advantage to move him to the outfield. So the Red Sox have to hope his power bat continues to progress and makes up for any defensive inefficiencies he shows at third. Bobby will start the season in AAA but is an injury away from being called up. If the Red Sox are seeking power next year he is the bat that will show it for them.

94. Sam Huff C (Rangers) - High school catchers have a tough career in the minor leagues. Most do not make it, and many of those who do play another position because they have a productive bat. That may be the eventual route of Huff. The seventh round pick in the 2016 draft continues to increase his power numbers, hitting 18 in 2018 and combining for 28 last year. A 33/154 walk to whiff ratio shows a lack of patience at the plate. His defense is still a work in progress, with a strong arm, but still to much stiffness behind the plate for his 6′4″ frame. The Rangers will find a position for him if he continues to hit 30 plus homeruns/year. While he dominated in Low A (.796 slugging) he struggled a bit in High A (.262). Huff is probably still at least until 2022 from reaching the Rangers, and it may be to get his bat into the lineup at a position other than catcher.

93. Orelevis Martinez SS (Blue Jays) - There is a lot to like in Orelevis, but not in huge waves. The Blue Jays opened their pocketbook for him, lavishing him with a $3.5 million bonus in 2018. His bat could be his best tool. The bat makes good contact and can spray the gaps, with more than half his hits going for extra bases last year. His speed is not great for the middle infield so staying at short will be a challenge. In 40 games at rookie ball he slugged .549 so a move to third base could be a possibility. If he stays at short he could be one of the more productive at the offensive end. Since he only played rookie ball last year he is a long ways away from wearing a Blue Jay uniform.

92. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - Myworld would bet that his name came up in the Starling Marte trade. Geraldo is a little more seasoned than Liover Peguero. The Diamondbacks spent $400,000 more for Peguero ($475,000) than Perdomo ($70,000). Perdomo lacks power but last year he showed enough patience to walk (70) more than he struck out (67). His batting average did not get rewarded for that patience (.262) but there was improvement when he was promoted to High A (.301). The tools are there for him to stick at short, with his arm his biggest asset. Despite lacking burner speed Geraldo is still able to turn singles into doubles with 26 stolen bases. The Diamondbacks will be patient with him. Expect it to be 2022 before he wears a Diamondback’s uniform.

91. Aaron Bracho SS (Indians) - The Indians win the lower spectrum of the prospect race with three in the bottom 10. Aaron signed out of Venezuela back in 2017, the same year as Valera. An arm injury left him sidelined in 2017 and 2018. He finally showed his tools in 2019 getting in 39 games and showing the ability to make contact which allowed him to hit for a decent average in rookie ball (.291). The power was there for him to slug .593. While the tools were there, they were not overwhelming. Because of his arm injuries the Indians played him at second base. His lack of speed and average arm may make that a permanent solution. Next year the kid gloves should come off and Aaron will be let loose to whereever his tools will take him. He is still a couple years away from having an impact on the Indians.

Top Prospects from the Dominican Republic in the American League

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

This is the first of our top prospect lists from each country or continent. The Dominican Republic has the most prospects in baseball so it is pretty easy creating a top ten list, so we break it off into the American League and National League. Other countries or continents require a deep dive into the minor leagues just to find players. Some countries may have less than ten players and if they are not included in a continent rating they will probably not be mentioned.

There were two successes among the Dominicans from last years list in the American League. The top prospect Vladimir Guerrero did not make the big splash as many expected, but he still earned the starting third base job for the Blue Jays. He had a decent year but may have been upstaged by rookie teammate Bo Bichette. Eloy Jimenez, the fourth rated prospect hit 31 homeruns and made an impact for the White Sox. One player who made the American League list (Jesus Sanchez) was traded to the National League. Wander Javier, Albert Abreu and Seuly Matias did not perform to expectations and were surpassed by newer prospects.

1. Wander Franco SS (Tampa Bay) - Like Guerrero on the list last year, Wander appears on many publications as the top prospect in baseball. Others who have appeared on the list include players like Jurickson Profar, Yoan Moncada and Bryan Harper. Franco plays a solid shortstop and can hit for average (.327) and power (.487). Even if he fills out and loses the range to play short his bat will play at third base. He has yet to play AA so the Rays have another year to decide what to do with him. They still have a couple cheap years of Willy Adames as their current shortstop, but once he reaches the age of arbitration they may look to trade him to make room for the cheaper and more productive Franco. Franco has hit over .300 at every level he has played and is expected to make his debut with the Rays sometime in 2021, depending on how Adames is taking to the shortstop position.

2. Julio Rodriguez OF (Seattle) - Last year Rodriguez was rated eighth. That was based on his 59 game debut in the Rookie League in 2018 where he hit .315 with a .526 slugging. The Mariners had forked over $1.75 million to sign him. He only elevated his stock after his 2019 season when he hit .326 with a .540 slugging, reaching High A as a 19 year old. His lack of speed will limit him to a corner, but he has the arm to play right. He could become the Mariners version of Juan Soto. If he takes the same path as Soto he will reach the Mariners next season, but expect him more in 2021.

3. Jasson Dominguez OF (New York) - Jasson is a mystery since he did not play last year. The Yankees signed him for $5.1 million. At 16 he still has a ways to go to reach Yankee Stadium. In the States he would still be eligible to play for the Junior Varsity baseball team in high school. Jasson carries all five tools, with the speed to play center and the power to bat in the middle of the order. If he should fill out the arm is strong enough for right field. Yankee fans will have to wait until 2023 before they will see him in the major leagues, but he could rise quickly.

4. Vidal Brujan 2B (Tampa Bay) - Vidal is more a speed guy. In the last two years he has stolen over 100 bases. Coming into the 2019 season he carried a .300 career average, but last year he hit .277. There is not a lot of power in his bat and it would be better if he could fit at short. With Adames and Franco playing there and a fairly average arm his best fit may be second base. Franco would bat in the middle of the lineup while Brujan would bat leadoff. Since he played 55 games in AA he could be ready to make his Rays debut sometime late in the 2020 season.

5. Noelvi Marti SS (Seattle) - Marte has not yet played state side. The Mariners signed him in 2018 for $1.55 million. Last year he played in the Dominican Summer League and hit .309 with 9 homeruns and a .511 slugging percentage. He also has the speed to steal bases, pilfering 17 last year. His arm is strong enough to fit at short but a lot will depend on how is body fills out. The power is there where a move to third would fit. Noelvi is still probably four to five years away from playing in the major leagues, so Mariners brass will have plenty of time to evaluate him to determine his ultimate position.

6. Deivi Garcia RHP (New York) - One Yankee pitcher dropped from the list (Albert Abreu) and two rise from the lower levels of the minor leagues to replace him. Garcia has a lights out arm that can throw a fastball in the mid-90s. He also has the finesse to buckle knees with his curve ball. What he lacks is the height (5′9″) that many like to see in a righthander. Last year he rose three levels, finishing with six starts in AAA while striking out 165 hitters in just 111 innings and limiting the opposition to a .231 average. He was hit a little harder in AAA (.262) and that could be a problem as he reaches the major leagues. If the Yankees have the need for bullpen or starting pitching help in 2020 expect Garcia to be one of the first pitchers to be considered for a promotion.

7. Luis Gil RHP (New York) - His 6′3″ height is more what scouts look for in a starting pitcher. Gil was not signed by the Yankees but acquired from the Twins in 2018 for Jake Cave. The Twins only paid $90,000 to sign him. Since signing in 2014 Gil had yet to pitch in the full season leagues, missing all of the 2016 season after shoulder surgery. Last year he jumped to the Florida State League, dominating at the Low A level (2.39 ERA with 112 whiffs in 83 innings). His fastball can hit triple digits, but it sits in the mid-90s range. Throwing strikes can be a bit of an issue for Gil. He also needs to find a third pitch to stay in the rotation. Luis will start the season in the Florida State League and if he does well he could see the Yankee bullpen in 2022.

8. Leody Taveras OF (Texas) - He is a stellar defensive player who is normally one of the youngest players at the level he has played. If he can carry a decent bat he could win gold gloves in centerfield. He came into the 2019 season with a .253 minor league career average but last year broke out to hit .279 average, good enough to get a promotion to AA. Last year he also elevated his stolen base game, stealing a career high 32 bases. There will not be a lot of power in the bat so he will need to rely on his glove and legs to win a major league job. If that happens he should see the Rangers as a September callup in 2020.

9. Jorge Mateo SS/OF (Oakland) - Myworld cannot give up on his potential. He shows some sneaky power, good enough to hit 19 homeruns last year and his legs can cover a lot of ground if the Athletics decide to move him to centerfield. He no longer appears to be the 50 stolen base threat he was early in his career, but he can still get over 20. Last year he was one homerun shy of being 20/20. Making contact can still be a challenge and a 29/145 walk to whiff ratio may lead to a number of extended slumps. The Yankees made him part of the Sonny Gray trade in 2017. Next year he could make the Athletics as a utility player, fitting in centerfield and the middle infield positions. The recent acquisition of Tony Kemp seems to have hurt his cause in the short run, but he has too many tools not to be given the opportunity.

10. Jose Soriano RHP (Los Angeles) - He only signed for $70,000 in 2016, at 18 fairly old for a Dominican. He sprouted to 6′3″ and last year sprayed his fastball to the plate into the high 90s, a significant increase from last year. He got more swings and misses, finishing with more than a strikeout per inning for the first time in his career. In Low A he limited the opposition to a .197 average. The big area of concern is his inability to find the strike zone. He normally goes above 4.5 walks per nine innings. Until he finds more consistency finding the strike zone his major league debut could be delayed, but expect it to happen sometime in 2021.

AL West Lower Draft Round Success

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

Now we look at the AL West to see how they have done selecting with the 25th round pick or later. The Rangers could almost create a starting rotation. We start with 1998 when drafts were established at 50 picks, further reduced to 40 a few years later. Also, if any player signed in the 25th round or later did not sign they were not included in this list. Myworld did not look at draft years 2015 or later since any late round picks making the major league roster in four years or less would be slim to none.

Houston Astros

Mike Burns RHP (2000/30th round) - 3-5, 5.75, 15 games, 8 starts

Tyler White 3B (2013/33rd round) - .236, 26, 103 in 256 games

Los Angeles Angels

Bobby Wilson C (2002/48th round) - .203, 18, 102 in 386 games
Efren Navarro 1B (2007/50th round) - .241, 3, 22 in 157 games
Jett Bandy C (2011/31st round) - .218, 16, 45 in 156 games
Michael Hermosillo OF (2013/28th round) - .183, 1, 4 in 49 games

Oakland Athletics

Ron Flores LHP (2000/20th round) - 1-4, 3.05, in 53 games in relief
Connor Robertson RHP (2004/31st round) - 0-1, 8.00 in 9 games of relief
Jeff Gray RHP (2004/32nd round) - 9-3, 4.99 in 115 games of relief
Brad Kilby LHP (2005/29th round) - 1-0, 1.07 in 16 games, one start
Mickey Storey RHP (2008/31st round) - 0-1, 4.19 in 29 games of relief
Ryan Dull RHP (2012/32nd round) - 8-9, 4.31 in 171 games of relief

Seattle Mariners

Scott Atchison RHP (1998/49th round) - 17-11, 3.63 in 298 games with just one start

T.J. Bohn OF (2002/30th round) - .211, 1, 5 in 32 games

Texas Rangers

Jason Botts 1B (1999/46th round) - .230, 5, 28 in 93 games

Jesse Chavez RHP (2002/42nd round) - 41-58, 4.48 in 463 games, 79 starts
Scott Feldman RHP (2003/30th round) - 78-84, 4.43 in 342 games, 204 starts
Derek Holland LHP (2006/25th round) - 78-78, 4.54 in 295 games, 222 starts
Danny Herrera LHP (2006/45th round) - 5-8, 3.72 in 131 games of relief
Tanner Roark RHP (2008/25th round) - 74-64, 3.71 in 213 games, 172 starts
Cody Eppley RHP (2008/43rd round) - 2-3, 4.61 in 71 games of relief
Alex Claudio LHP (2010/27th round) - 15-8, 3.38 in 291 game, with two starts
Phil Klein RHP (2011/30th round) - 2-3, 5.50 in 40 games, with four starts
C.J. (Carl) Edwards (2011/48th round) - 9-8, 3.58 in 194 games of relief
Joe Palumbo LHP (2013/30th round) - 0-3, 9.18, seven games with four starts